I have 4 radiation days remaining!! I will finish radiation on Friday, Feb. 1st. Radiation has gone well. I have not had any burning, so far. My neck is a little pink. I’m now using the cream on that area 3 times a day, with 2 times a day application to the rest of the radiation field (my front left side from about the waist to the shoulder). I spray the green tea spray about 4 times a day, take the turmeric twice a day, and vitamin B-50 once a day. Together, these things have helped prevent burning. I’ve been seeing a physical therapist once a week that specializes in lymphedema prevention. Since my doctor’s group and Indianapolis University Medical are the only practices in this area using the green tea spray (that I know of), patients from other practices that my physical therapist sees have significant signs of burning. I’m so thankful to have found this doctor that uses a mix of medical and herbal treatments.
I feel like a lethargic slug. Thankfully, until the middle of last week, an hour of reading in bed in the middle of the day was about all I needed to recoup energy for the evening. It was hard to get going in the morning, but once I was up and at it, I was fine until mid-day. Now, I’m back to the point of waking up and feeling just as tired as I did when I went to sleep. I’m thankful that the finish line is in sight! I’m excited about dragging myself across it this Friday!!! They say the two to four weeks following my last treatment are when the fatigue will be the strongest, as my body works at repairing the damage done by the radiation. So I have 3-5 weeks to embrace and enjoy this time for reading and lounging.
This weekend, I was again reminded of the miracle of the enabling power of the atonement. In this lethargic, sluggish stage of treatment, I was blessed with a needed burst of energy so I could attend and enjoy our stake young women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday, and a stake youth fireside on Sunday night. They were both wonderful events. I loved spending time with the youth in our stake and watching their amazing examples as followers of Christ.
Recently when visiting a nearby LDS congregation, our stake president (church leader over several local wards/congregations) shared a message that felt like it was written just for me. It referenced Psalms 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
Often in the scriptures, mountains are used to represent the Lord’s house, His temple, a place where we can return to Him, and prepare for when we literally return to Him. But here, the term “hill” is used. The speaker referred to Mount Everest, and the limited number of people who are successful in climbing it. I looked up some of this information and share it below. (Skip past this for the rest of the story, if you’re not interested in additional facts about this mountain) http://geography.about.com/od/specificplacesofinterest/a/mounteverest.htm:
Expeditions to the Top of Mount Everest
Despite the extreme cold, hurricane-force winds, and low oxygen levels (about one-third of the oxygen in the atmosphere as at sea level), climbers seek to successfully climb Mount Everest every year. Since the first historic climb of New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay in 1953, more than 2000 people have successfully climbed Mount Everest.
Unfortunately, due to the hazards and rigors of climbing such a dangerous mountain, over 200 have died attempting to climb - making the death rate for Mount Everest climbers about 1 in 10. Nonetheless, in the late spring or summer months, the climbing season, there can be tens of climbers attempting to reach the peak of Mount Everest each day.
The cost to climb Mount Everest is substantial. The permit from the government of Nepal can run from $10,000 to $25,000 per person, depending on the number in a group of climbers. Add to that equipment, Sherpa guides, additional permits, helicopters, and other essentials and the cost per person can be well over $65,000.
So, to continue with the message from church, he shared that God wants all of us to seek Him, not just a limited few. He doesn’t want any of us to fail. Perhaps Psalms 24:3-4 refers to “hills” because they are achievable and not over-whelming. They require consistent work, but it’s a gradual process with variations in difficulty. President then talked about taking a 50-mile hike in Southern Indiana, at first thinking, “It’s Indiana, how hard can this be?” But, it ended up being very challenging as each day passed and muscle soreness and fatigue increased. He later learned that with the constant changes in elevation, this 50-mile hike was equivalent to having climbed Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in the United States.
This whole reference to mountains, hills, and hikes was so similar to my journey with cancer. I’m nearing the end of this breast cancer hike. It has felt more like a series of hills, rather than a majestic mountain that is over-whelming to look at. By taking one day at a time, one hill at a time, and with the help and support of family and friends, constant prayers, and help from above, this entire mountain climb, or rolling hills hike, has brought us all closer to God. We’ve seen His miracles, we’ve felt His peace, and we’ve come to better appreciate the daily strength the Lord provides for us as we seek Him. It’s been a hike of learning, a hike of faith, and a hike of gratitude. I know the Lord wants us all to ascend the hill. It’s do-able, one step at a time, and one day at a time, helping each other along the way.